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Bouncy floors and epic encores: 5 iconic Manchester gig venues

9 months ago

Oasis, The Smiths, The 1975, Elbow, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, Take That… Manchester has spawned a disproportionate number of genre-defining bands. And while it could be something in the water (the Vimto?), it’s more likely a result of growing up in a city where live music is nurtured, ever-present, and celebrated.

There are dozens of live music venues in Manchester, from the Manchester Academy complex up by the universities, to back street NQ dive bars like The Peer Hat. Here we’ve chosen five of our personal favourites – the venues with the right ingredients to transform a gig from a top night out into a legendary event. If a band you even half like is playing one of these places, get a ticket.

For more places to watch gigs or concerts in Manchester, search for live music.

  • Albert Hall, an iconic gig venue in Manchester.
    Manchester City Centre

    Albert Hall

    Music Venues

    The upper floor of this Grade II listed Wesleyan chapel lay empty for 40 years before Mission Mars bought the building in 2012 and opened it up as a music venue. The only question is why didn’t anyone do it sooner?

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  • Concert night at the Manchester Arena, or AO Arena as it is currently known.
    Book Now Manchester City Centre

    AO Arena

    Music Venues

    If you’re in Manchester to see a big name music act, chances are you’re seeing it at the AO Arena.

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  • Band on the Wall - an iconic gig venue in Manchester
    Northern Quarter

    Band on the Wall

    Music Venues

    So called because the performers used to play on a stage situated halfway up the wall, Band on the Wall has been a stalwart of the Manchester music scene for about 200 years.

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  • The exterior of Night and Day Cafe in the NQ Manchester.
    Manchester City Centre

    Night & Day Cafe

    Music Venues

    Without Night & Day Cafe, the Northern Quarter as we know it probably wouldn’t exist. It was places like this, jazz club Matt and Phreds, and Factory Records-owned Dry Bar that kickstarted the area’s reputation for art, music, and banging nights out – and the apartment boom that followed.

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  • Jillian Jacqueline playing O2 Manchester Ritz
    Oxford Road

    O2 Ritz Manchester

    Music Venues

    The O2 Manchester Ritz on Whitworth Street has seen better days but it still knocks most venues out of the water when it comes to hosting gig nights.

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